Monday morning, just before 3:30 a.m., I was shaken awake by a 3.2 earthquake. Although the earthquake is considered relatively small in magnitude, it shook for quite some time and toppled a few minor things around my home. September is National Preparedness Month, and Monday morning’s shaker was a good reminder that we should all make a plan in the event of a large earthquake catastrophe.

Over the last few weeks, Southern California has experienced what scientists call "swarming." Swarming is a series of a few hundred small to mid-grade earthquakes in a localized area. Last week, San Diego and Imperial Counties experienced numerous quakes, the largest two topping out at 5.3 and 5.5 over the weekend of August 25-26th. Although scientists indicate the multitude of shakers does not equate to an imminent large earthquake, residents should still be reminded that smaller quakes can cause damage to our homes.

The majority of homeowners and business owners in California do not carry earthquake insurance. That means that if an earthquake damages their homes, businesses, or personal property, the damage will not be covered by insurance. Statistically, the number of home and business owners purchasing earthquake insurance is unusually low in comparison to the potential earthquake threat we face in California. In 2011, the average price of earthquake insurance ranged between $800 to $825 a year. With the rise in earthquake activity, homeowners and business owners should reevaluate decisions to forgo earthquake coverage. Whether small or large, an earthquake can damage the foundation of a structure, in addition to personal property, which can be very expensive to repair.